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Departmental Voluntary Work

Volume 507: debated on Tuesday 9 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what (a) schemes and (b) programmes her Department offers to its staff to enable them to undertake volunteering work; and if she will make a statement. (320937)

DWP offers the following schemes and programmes to its staff to enable them to undertake volunteer work:

(a) Schemes

Community 5000: Community 5000 is the “in work” volunteering scheme open to all DWP staff at all levels. It supports individuals and teams to give practical skills and time to voluntary and community organisations that support the needs of DWP's diverse customers.

It is a free choice for the individual and is usually one day of volunteering activity, treated as a day at work as regards hours of attendance and pay and conditions etc.

In the two years the scheme has been running over 10,000 days have been given in support of over 300 organisations including the Citizens Advice Bureau, The Salvation Army, Action for Blind People, Age Concern, Crisis and many more.

Feedback has indicated that attendance on the scheme has encouraged many staff to volunteer in their own time.

(b) Programmes

Paid leave: For public and community activities paid leave is available to staff as a right with an agreed entitlement, i.e:

Annual entitlement

Activity

Maximum number of days

Member local authority

18

Mayor

24

Magistrate

18

School or college governor

4

Jury Service

1

1 As required by the court.

Staff are also allowed paid leave to serve in a voluntary organisation that provides a service to the local community, such as the Lifeboat Service, Mountain Rescue and Special Constabulary.

Princes Trust

The DWP support individuals who wish to participate in the Princes Trust as part of their personal development. They are continually looking at how such programmes and other opportunities e.g. secondments to the voluntary sector etc. can be used as an alternative to traditional learning and development methods.